Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Go Ask Alice, I Think She'll Know...

Some of you may know that I've been having some stomach troubles. They began at the end of my tenure at The Pit of Despair. I found myself burping ... a lot. Now this was weird. I never have indigestion. I could eat 4 slices of pizza, a half a bottle of wine, and a cup of coffee with impunity. So this was upsetting to me. I thought that once I was away from the Pit and eating better that it would go away. Instead it got worse. By Thanksgiving it was truly annoying. There seemed to be a perpetual bubble in my esophagus and and odd tight feeling in my throat. I decided to do a little detox and at the same time started scouring the web for information. What I discovered is that modern medicine is no help at all for most digestive troubles. Unless there is something very specific, like the H.Pylori bacteria which causes ulcers, or cancer, they don't really have a good answer. They give you antacids and proton pump inhibitors and send you on your way. The holistic sites advocated detox and the trying betaine HCL which is stomach acid in pill form. Apparently too little acid can also cause heartburn and indigestion because the food does not get properly digested. The symptoms listed sounded like mine so I tried the HCL. That helped a bit but it's hard to get the dosage right. I then went to an acupuncturist/Chinese Medicine man. He diagnosed me as too hot and acidy. I needed to eat cooling foods and stay away from heating foods as well as from acidy foods like tomatoes and orange juice. Unfortunately this meant giving up garlic among other things. Harsh. He also prescribed some herbs in solution which were really foul. But I took them and had two acupuncture sessions. I was not feeling better, in fact I felt worse. I then remembered that my sister Alice had had some parasite trouble in her stomach and so I called her to find out what her symptoms had been. During the conversation it came out that she had a second stomach problem which involved lots of burping and gurgling in the stomach. She had gone to a doctor who had perscribed Prilosec. It helped but as soon as she stopped taking it the symptoms came back. So she took things into her own hands and started having a big piece of raw ginger every night after eating. That did it. The symptoms subsided quickly but she kept it up for a month to be sure. The problem has not returned and if ever she feels a little heavy in the stomach she has a piece of ginger. I had had some ginger tea and ginger candy but those had not been potent enough. Now, after three days of eating ginger after every meal I am starting to feel better. The bubble is not in my chest so much and I am burping less. I wish I had called her sooner before giving the acupuncturist a bunch of money.

Since then I have been reading up on Ayurveda (ginger is very important in Ayurveda). Like Chinese Medicine it looks for balance but it has different criteria and it takes the constitution of the individual into greater account. You can go here and find out which Dosha you are. Most people are bi-doshic with one dominant. I am a vata-pitta. And I think my vata is aggravated. The symptoms for that include gas and indigestion and increased impatience and worrying. Spot on. Ayurveda is concerned with agni fire which is your digestion. If your vata is aggravated the fire is damped and digestion is sluggish. Your food gets fermented and forms bubbles. I had felt that I had slowness rather than too much acid. I should have gone with my intuition. I have moved on to the new list of foods which happily includes ginger, garlic, and cheese. Hopefully if I continue to eat ginger I will be well by Christmas Eve when I am going to my cousin Beth's. They have lobster for dinner and she makes these cream cheese cookies that are to die for.

I should've asked Alice. Perhaps I will send her a little present as a thank you.


Kicking N. Screaming said...

I suggest sending her gingerbread cookies. You know, it embodies the season and keeps to the ginger theme. Plus, yum. If you would like to thank me for this outstanding idea, I accept gingerbread cookies. ;)

Delphi said...

Let no one say I can't take a hint.

Epiphany Alone said...

Wow, that's fascinating. I've been experiencing the same thing, and it's been so boggling.

I had few digestive issues except in pregnancy which was a bane of heartburn in the 3rd trimester. Although it resolved after having Lauren, it never resolved after Lindsay and there are nights (and this is a little icky) that I can hear the acid creeping up my esophagus and cresting, like waves, on the back of my tongue.

Geez, I thought, I have had a lot of stress in my life before - my life has far fewer stressors now...why would my body be reacting this way? The idea of a lifetime regimen of Prilosec and a bland diet really was sad.

I will have to try ginger. How much do you eat? Is it after every meal or just at the end of the day?